If I know one thing it’s that my Grandma loves living in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. There is nothing that makes her happier than sipping a cup of coffee while sitting on the front porch in the rocking chair Grandpa made her 25 years ago, listening to the birds chirp and watching the sun rise high into the sky.
But as her illness has progressed these past few years, simply getting out of bed to make coffee and move herself to the front porch has become a struggle. It recently became more and more difficult for her to travel to see her doctor, pick up prescriptions, and live out a routine daily life. We did not know what to do and were sadly at a breaking point. That was when we were referred to palliative care. Honestly, she nor I knew what to expect. However, upon our first visit with the Palliative Care team we both were pleasantly surprised.
Grandma immediately took a liking to Reggie, the Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, and Todd, the Palliative Care Registered Nurse, who were assigned as her Care Team providers. They were both so nice and kind and she liked that they were willing to come and visit her in her home so that she did not have to deal with the hustle and bustle of getting loaded into the car and driving upwards of 35 minutes to town. I liked that they genuinely listened to her, they took the time to ask her what her goals were and immediately crafted a plan to work together to achieve them.
That was when Todd introduced to us a new way to keep in touch with her new Palliative Care support team, it was something I had never heard of before. Once again, I was skeptical. That afternoon, we downloaded an app called “TapCloud.” This app allows Grandma to record how she feels every day on her phone as well as provides her with a way to communicate with her team that is only a “tap” away. She was a little nervous about the technology at first, but Todd took it step by step and helped guide her through the process, doing everything he could to make her feel comfortable but also empowered.
I could tell right away that she was very pleased with this new system we put in place to support her. We felt the support even more so when there was a day when she wasn’t feeling well, and she logged into the app to record her symptoms. Moments later Todd called, he had already spoken to Reggie and adjusted her medications to relieve her of the pain she was experiencing and put her mind at ease. We both felt better knowing that someone was routinely monitoring how she felt and that I could trust that someone else was able to help us co-create the best care experience.
Let’s be honest, it is truly exhausting, challenging and downright hard sometimes being the caregiver and the family member of the person you are caring for which is why I am truly grateful for the innovative ways our provider was able to step in and provide the most trusted care for my family.
Grandma really liked that she did not have to call her doctor, try to get an appointment and drive into town when she felt bad. The convenience of TapCloud was astounding. It empowered her to know that with a click of a few buttons, her medical care team would call to check in with her when she didn’t feel well and then communicate her needs and a status update to her Primary Care Physician to ensure he knew what was happening while she was being cared for at home.
It empowered me to know I had an extra layer of support in providing and ensuring Grandma was receiving the right care at the right time and to know she was not in and out of the Emergency Room and scared and alone as she had been in the past. Grandma told me that TapCloud and her provider have really helped her feel better and live a better quality of life. Together she says they have added life to her days!
I am proud to report that she has not been to the hospital or the Emergency Room since beginning Palliative Care with seven months ago. She (and I) trust Todd to monitor her updates on the app, check in with her on how she’s feeling, address her symptoms and manage her pain on a regular basis and in a timely manner. I could not be more appreciative of the two-way communication and access to innovative, quality care that my provider and the TapCloud app have afforded us. She could not be more appreciative to have someone that she can trust to contact 24/7 for support and in return that will provide her with the most compassionate care.
In the past we’ve had to wait for our doctor to call back (and we understand he is incredibly busy juggling a large caseload of seriously ill patients) so we try to be patient; therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to be introduced to TapCloud. Reggie is always available to help adjust medications, provide support, advice, a shoulder to lean on and a gentle conversation to steer Grandma away from the pain and serious illness she lives with each day. Being part of the Four Seasons Palliative Care program has saved us both. It has given us both peace of mind and Grandma the confidence and dignity to live the life she wants to live.
This morning when I pulled up to her house, I found her nestled in her rocking chair on the front porch, a peaceful smile across her face, steaming cup of coffee in hand, and her phone in her lap. The TapCloud app was still open on the screen. I could do nothing more but smile alongside her.
John Morris, M.D. Palliative Care / CMO, MD FAAHPM
Teleios University (TU)
Program Launch: January 20-21, 2020
An organizational model that allows not-for-profit hospices (Members) to leverage best practices, achieve economies of scale and collaborate in ways that better prepare each agency to participate in emerging alternative payment models and advance their charitable missions.